The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals released an amended opinion on the resentencing of Lynne Stewart (pdf) on Wednesday, adding language that appears to require Judge John Koeltl to consider a much longer sentence for the disbarred lawyer. The circuit had ruled on Nov. 17 that the 28-month sentence Koeltl gave Stewart for helping imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman pass messages to his followers in an alleged terror group in Egypt was too low.
A majority told Judge Koeltl to make a finding on whether Stewart committed perjury at trial and examine in greater detail her abuse of her position as a lawyer -- two factors that would both increase the sentence and help the circuit evaluate whether it was reasonable. But new language was added Wednesday at the end of the amended opinion requiring Koeltl to revisit the terrorism enhancement in the federal sentencing guidelines "and take that enhancement into account" -- which could add years to Stewart's sentence.
The decision not to impose the enhancement had angered Judge John M. Walker Jr., who said in dissent in November that he was "at a loss" for "any rationale that could reasonably justify" a sentence he called "breathtakingly low."
The amended opinion also directs Judge Koeltl to reweigh the fact that no persons were actually harmed by the passing of messages to and from the sheikh